Today's poem is by Eloise Klein Healy

The Suicide's Numbers

I subtract the dates using pencil and paper
because it's one take away eight,
eight take away five and the calculation
involves borrowing. I'm too tired
to do this mentally tonight and even more,
I can't believe she was only twenty-two.

So I run the numbers again, and yes,
she definitely was a very young woman,
her body in the portraits smooth
as a fine-grained print.

She was on to something, she was
beyond technique or costume or the body.
The geometries she captured
would intoxicate a snowflake
with their patterns, with their quick array.

Was she as wise as everybody said?
Or could it be she was falling
from such a great height
and casting every which way to capture
her vision that she hit the ground
before her shadow let her know?

Was that ache caught by her lens
somewhere near the frame
herself intruding or herself escaping?

Francesca Woodman, celebrated for her self-portraits,
committed suicide at the age of 22.
Her photographs are collected in FRANCESCA WOODMAN.

Copyright © 2003 Eloise Klein Healy All rights reserved
from Passing
Red Hen Press
Reprinted by Verse Daily® with permission

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